Family Matters

Catching Up . . . In Three Photos

We had a perfect California get-away last week.  It was ideal, really -- a quick trip with only one objective:  spend time with Erin and Keith.  No side trips.  No schedule.  No expectations.  We loved it!

Erin gave us a personal, guided tour of the LinkedIn campus when we arrived.  I have visited LinkedIn before (back when Erin was an intern), but Tom hadn't been there yet.  It's very cool to see where your kid works . . . and it's super interesting to see one of these tech companies from the inside!

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We had a lot of fun just hanging out . . . sampling California beer (so many great ones to choose from!) and eating what turned out to be a lot of amazing gourmet hamburgers.  Erin and Keith introduced us to Mochi ice cream.  (I'll just say . . . some flavors are better than others, but the texture takes some getting used to.)  And we also visited Psycho Donuts -- Silicon Valley's "gourmet donut asylum."  Great fun.

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We played a lot of games.  Erin and Keith love games and puzzles of all kinds -- everything from sophisticated video games to Uno around the dinner table -- and we were happy to play along with them.  They introduced us to a couple of new board games, we went mini golfing.  We even did an escape room, which was WAY fun.  (Basically, it was like a real-life video game where walls move and things happen when you solve the puzzles.  Very exciting!  Highly recommended for family fun.)

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We had a fabulous time.  It was so nice to just relax for a few days with Erin and Keith.  I'm so happy that Erin has a job she loves, and has settled so well into her new life with Keith in California.  
(It's just . . . so far away.  Y'know?)  
(But a great place to visit.  So there is that.)

And here's a bonus photo (because this one just kind of sums up the whole trip) . . .

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Head over to Carole's to read more Three on Thursday posts today!

 

 


Tulip Tales

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Last spring, I created a Mom-garden in memory of my mom, and I planted it full of her favorite summer flowers on Mother's Day.  (You can read about it here.)  The little garden grew and flourished , bringing me smiles and happy memories all summer long.

I've cleared the garden out for the season now, though.  It's resting again until spring.

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Earlier this fall, I ordered spring bulbs from White Flower Farm, and I've been . . . waiting . . . to plant them.  The weather hasn't really been cooperating when it comes to bulb-planting this fall.  Although we've had cool, wet weather, we haven't had a real frost yet -- let alone a freeze.  So it's still a bit early to plant bulbs (but, surely, getting close).

Included in that bulb order?  Mixed tulip bulbs -- for my Mom-garden.  I don't usually plant tulips in my own garden.  I love tulips -- but they tend to be a bit more hit-and-miss than most spring bulbs.  The squirrels really love them, they don't naturalize well, and they perform best if you dig them up and replace them each season.  Which is really too much work for me. . . So I tend to enjoy tulips in other people's gardens!  

But.

My mom LOVED tulips!  

Late yesterday afternoon, I happened to glance out my kitchen window at the now-empty Mom-garden.  It was bathed in sunlight.  (In fact, it was the only spot in my garden still getting any of the quickly setting sunlight.)

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The garden beckoned!

I grabbed my gardening stuff and headed out to plant my 30 tulip bulbs.

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And while I was digging and planting and filling, I thought about my mom and her tulips.  I remembered . . . 

How she used to cut stems of spring tulips for me when I was a little girl, and then carefully wrap them in a wet napkin and a baggie so I could carry them to school to give my teacher.

How she planted tulips in her own gardens each fall -- with a variety of bloom times so there would be maximum tulip bloom throughout the spring.

How a couple of years ago, the two of us worked together on a very miserable-cold afternoon to plant bulbs for one of her neighbors who was struggling with a health issue and unable to plant her own bulbs.  My mom wanted everyone to enjoy the magic of colorful tulips after a bleak winter.

How much she loved volunteering in the Tulip Time Festival Information booth each May in Holland -- tiptoeing through the tulips in her own wooden shoes!*

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My memories made for a wonderful bulb-planting afternoon.  It was almost like . . . gardening with my mom again.

(On a roll, I decided she would probably like some grape hyacinths, too.)

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When I was finished planting, I packed up my stuff and turned to head back to my garage -- and was awestruck by the sun shining over my back gate -- looking down on me with warmth and light.

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I'm thinking those tulips are going to be especially gorgeous next spring.  Y'know?

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* We donated my mom's Tulip Time costume to the folks who run the Information Booth, so it will continue to greet visitors to Holland's Tulip Time Festival each spring.

 


Meeting My Goal

My daughter, Erin, has always been . . . her own self.  Unique; imaginative; smart and creative.  And totally out-of-the-box from the get-go.  It's been fun - and always a bit of an adventure - to watch her grow up; to watch her unfold.  

When she went off to college, she met her match in Keith.  The two of them just . . . fit together from the start.  And it's been a delight to watch them grow and unfold  . . . together.

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No one would ever use the word "conventional" to describe either Erin or Keith.  They do things their own way!  Always have; always will.

So when it came time to plan their wedding, I knew we'd have fun with it.  As the mother-of-the-bride, my biggest goal was to make sure Erin and Keith had a wedding day that was perfect . . . for them.  That their wedding turned out be just what they wanted -- even if it was a bit out-of-the-box; a day that would make them happy.

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Sometimes, they embraced tradition.  (Tom walked Erin down the aisle, for example.)

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And sometimes, they did not.  (They had a cake as part of their "dessert buffet" -- but no "wedding cake" and no cake cutting ceremony.)

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The wedding was small and intimate, with a venue only blocks from the beach.

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There were games to play and costumes to try on.  A friend performed a poem (poetry-slam style) that she wrote just for Erin and Keith (so powerful and moving that there was not a dry eye among the women at my table).

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There was jazz and some spontaneous dancing and cornhole match-ups and even an appearance by Party Duck (because friends can surprise and delight).

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But mostly, there was love and joy.

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I feel like I met my goal:  The day was lovely and relaxed and fun . . . just the way Erin and Keith wanted it to be!

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(And - just because I'm sure you're all dying to know - I wore the silver sparkle shoes!)  (Both of them.)

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Dispatch from Wedding Central

Just a quick little check-in to let you know that I'm climbing aboard the Wedding Crazy Train today.  

Houseguests.

Last-minute details and decisions.*

A transportation schedule that looks something like a battle strategy.

(You know.)

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But mostly . . . so much love in my heart.

I'll be back next Tuesday to tell you all about it.

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* I still haven't made a final decision about my shoes.  Maybe I'll wear one of each???


A Whirlwind

Last Wednesday, Erin arrived to spend a few days in Michigan.  It was great to see her --- but, WOW!  What a whirlwind!  (Because we had QUITE An Agenda for this visit.)

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We spent some time at the beach (specifically . . . Oval Beach . . . one of the most beautiful stretches of Lake Michigan shoreline in southern Michigan).  We were there, officially, to scope out wedding photography locations.  But the day was beautiful - warm and sunny - so we took some time to play.  (The water was icy -- far too cold to wade in, but the sand was nice and warm.)

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We accomplished MUCH in the way of wedding planning, meeting at the venue to decide details, menu, photography, and flowers.  (Here's where the ceremony will take place.)

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And Erin said "yes to the dress." (But not one of these "lace monstrosities."  Erin has never "done lace," and nothing about that changed when it came time for her to choose a dress.)

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Both Erin and I needed to fortify ourselves frequently -- as the "wedding industry" is pretty disgusting -- and SO over the top.  (Just sayin.)

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We also did a lot of non-wedding shopping so Erin will have a good working-wardrobe for her summer internship at . . . 

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(She'll be doing technical writing and software documentation for LinkedIn in California beginning next week.)

There was still plenty of time for relaxing and eating and drinking; watching hockey with Tom; spending time with Poppy.  It was a great couple of days -- very productive and kind of exhausting, but fun.

Before we knew it . . . 

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she was gone.  (With a big suitcase that arrived Empty and departed Full Of Stuff.)

Definitely a whirlwind -- but the kind of whirlwind I welcome any time.